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Sun Nov 25, 2012, 08:19 PM

Chris Hedges Walks With a Champion of the Imprisoned

via truthdig:

Chris Hedges Walks With a Champion of the Imprisoned
Posted on Nov 21, 2012

“It has been so strange,” Herbert Richardson told incarceration activist Bryan Stevenson on the day of his execution. “All day long people have been saying to me, ‘What can I do to help you?’ … More people have said what can they do to help me in the last 14 hours of my life than they ever did” before, Chris Hedges writes in Smithsonian magazine.

Richardson, Hedges reports, was a disturbed Vietnam combat veteran who landed on Alabama’s death row after an explosive device he left on the porch of an estranged girlfriend killed a young girl.

“You never got the help you needed,” Stevenson told Richardson, moments before a guard would pull the switch on his electric chair. Before Richardson was killed, Stevenson made the following promise: “I will try and keep as many people out of this situation as possible.”

Stevenson kept that vow. Since he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, he has helped reverse the death sentences of more than 75 inmates in Alabama. “His efforts culminated this past June in a Supreme Court ruling effectively barring mandatory life sentences without parole for minors,” Hedges writes. “As a result, approximately 2,000 such cases in the United States may be reviewed.” In 2012, Stevenson won the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in social justice. ....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/chris_hedges_walks_with_a_champion_of_the_imprisoned_20121121/

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Reply Chris Hedges Walks With a Champion of the Imprisoned (Original post)
marmar Nov 2012 OP
struggle4progress Nov 2012 #1

Response to marmar (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 10:42 PM

1. Stevenson and Hedges both missed a major educational opportunity in that piece IMO

Hedges wrote: "Equating the enslavement of innocents with the imprisonment of convicted criminals is apt to be widely resisted"

But there is a historical connection, and there is a current connection

The historical connection is the corporate use of chain-gang labor after the civil war and until about WWII: blacks couldn't be enslaved anymore, but they could be given long sentences for crimes such as "vagrancy" and then as prisoners leased by the state as labor to corporations. Corporations across the South thus got almost free labor, which they often maltreated just as slaves had been maltreated earlier

The current connection is privatization of prisons and the manufacturing industries centered in some modern prisons

There's a useful analysis waiting to be done here

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